Posted by: kenwbudd | December 9, 2009

China: Surge in Luxury cars sales for Audi, BMW & Mercedes

Strong Chinese luxury auto sales have lifted the prospects of German luxury car makers which were left behind in an earlier rush to buy cheaper models with ‘cash-for-clunkers’ subsidies, analysts say.

Audi, BMW and Daimler, which owns Mercedes-Benz, all reported better sales in November on a 12-month basis, with China clearly the fastest growing market for all three.

“China is outstanding right now,” Metzler Bank auto analyst Juergen Pieper reports.

Already the biggest market for Audi’s parent group Volkswagen, “within five years it will be the most important country for Daimler and BMW and in the next three or four years for Audi,” Nord LB analyst Frank Schwope forecast.

Schemes approved by governments worldwide to boost the auto sector with credits for junking an old car mainly benefitted makers of cheaper autos, including VW which aims to overtake Toyota as the biggest automaker by 2018.

Budget conscious auto buyers shunned the kind of powerful cars that Germany is best known for and luxury auto sales slumped sharply early this year.

November deliveries thus compared favourably with what were already weak sales one year earlier, with Daimler reporting a gain of 16 percent, BMW one of 11.5 percent and Audi one of 8.9 percent.

“Since September, sales have been back on the growth track,” BMW sales director Ian Robertson said in a statement. “We intend to continue this trend in December and continue to exploit the increasing demand in China,” he added.

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